The Eastern Michigan football team pulled away in the fourth quarter, as it defeated the Ohio Bobcats 27-20 in Athens, Ohio on Saturday.
After a slow start for both teams, the Eagles (5-2,2-1) put up 24 second-half points to pull off the 27-20 victory over the Bobcats (4-3,2-1). The Eagles were led by a career best performance from redshirt junior Brogan Roback who set a career high in passing yards as he threw for 347. This was the Eagles first win in Athens since 1994.
“It’s a happy locker-room right now, in the locker-room last week we talked about the Ohio game,” said coach Chris Creighton. “We said we got to be a smart, tough, physical football team… And that’s what happened today”
When it came to the offense, the Eagles struggle early; one field goal, another missed field goal in all of the first half. But with the beginning of the second half the Eagles unleashed 10 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth to help itself pull away.
“We couldn’t get that rhythm going again (after the first drive). And they’re a good defense, a really good defense,” said Creighton on early struggles on offense.
Eastern Michigan was led through the air by Brogan Roback who led the offense with a signature performance. Roback threw for 347 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. A key factor in his play was his completion number where he completed a career high 29 passes, for a 74.5 completion percentage.
“I don’t know how many times I’m going to say it but o-line has been playing out their minds. I wouldn’t be able to sit back there and throw the ball at all without them,” said Brogan Roback.
The ball was passed to 10 different receivers against the Bobcats. The Eagles were led by a high-flying performance by junior Sergio Bailey who caught eight balls for 143 yards and touchdown. Another junior, Antoine Porter, caught 7 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown in the win.
On the ground, the Eagles struggled to run the ball as the team combined for 88 yards. Redshirt freshman Breck Turner led the team in rushing as he carried the ball nine times for 50 yards. Redshirt sophomore Ian Eriksen appeared to suffer an injury during the game as he carried the ball 12 times for 24 yards. Eriksen is the third running back to go down with an injury this year as he joins Shaq Vann and Blake Banham.
The defense allowed 415 yards overall as it held the Bobcats to 20 points. Through the air, Greg Windham and Quinton Maxwell combined for 291 yards, a touchdown and an interception. On the ground the Bobcats were led by Dorian Brown who ran for 94 yards on 14 carries for a touchdown.
The defense was led by redshirt senior Pat O’Connor who had three tackles, a sack, two tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble. Junior Jason Beck led the team in tackles with 10 and senior Daquan Pace added four solo tackles and an interception. Redshirt freshman Maxx Crosby contributed to the team’s victory as he produced three tackles, a sack and a two tackles-for-loss.
“It was awesome, the whole defense because Neathery put a great game plan together. It came down to the score in the second half and we prevailed and just kept playing,” said Maxx Crosby
Eastern Michigan will now head to Kalamazoo for a game against in-state rival Western Michigan (7-0, 3-0). The Eagles look to end the Broncos winning ways on the road. Kickoff is set for 3:30 on Saturday, Oct. 22.
“Western Michigan is a great football team, no surprise there. They’re a well-coached team. Coach Fleck is a good coach. I think we’re excited,” said Roback.